ArtsATL > Art+Design > Gallery notes: An Pham at Spruill; Lucha Rodriguez’s cut-paper panache at Swan Coach House

Gallery notes: An Pham at Spruill; Lucha Rodriguez’s cut-paper panache at Swan Coach House

Spruill Gallery’s “Emerging Artists 2011” closes Saturday, September 3, so put the show on your priority list. It would be a shame to miss the debut of the very impressive An Pham.

A recent graduate of the University of Georgia’s Master of Fine Arts program, Pham works with a wide palette of materials, from handmade paper and old books to plastic strips, scotch tape and — most wondrously in this exhibit — rubber bands.

She crochets, plaits, knots, coils and otherwise manipulates this mundane item into mysterious sculptures, which she presents, like the gifts they are, in handmade boxes. It’s a good thing she wants you to touch them, because they are irresistibly tactile. They also give off that rubber-band smell and, more profoundly, the feeling of intensity that comes from the hours of repetition and minute manipulations that making these works require. Pham manipulates books and their pages with similar inventiveness.

Be sure, as well, to see the winners of WonderRoot’s Generally Local, Mostly Independent Film Series. For more on Pham and the films, see my AJC review, which also includes a brief discussion of Lucha Rodriguez‘s exhibition “Fluoressence” at Swan Coach House Gallery through September 24.

If you have followed Rodriguez’s work, the sensuous, intricately cut paper forms will be familiar, but she has taken this opportunity to explore other materials, including sound, in wall-hung works. The small installations in this show are minor compared to the exuberant, spatially complex pieces she’s done elsewhere. As I wrote in the AJC, “The artist describes her work as ‘neo-pop,’ but, in truth, it spans a continuum between saucy cartoonish aesthetic and the refined elegance that dominates here. Perhaps that’s a site-specific response to the formality of the Buckhead gallery’s architecture and well-bred ambiance. Just know that Rodriguez can blow it out when she wants to.”

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